October 15, 2021 | NEWS | By Susie Dummit | Photo by Rickki Held

On Saturday, Oct. 3, 2021, the Yalich Student Services Building opened the doors to its new space for student health and wellbeing. Following the mail center and bookstore, the Student Health Center and Counseling Center have relocated adjacent to the Ed Robson Arena.

The new spaces have modern features, with the Student Health Center gaining five additional exam rooms, a streamlined design and a larger, more efficient lab. 

The Counseling Center acquired eight new counseling offices, all of which have large west-facing windows with mountain views, allowing for less juggling of spaces and making scheduling easier for staff. 

The Wellness Resource Center has also seen some improvements with a floor-to-ceiling west-facing wall of glass which provides natural light and mountain views, contributing to a more appealing space to work on one’s wellness. 

However, one of the most convenient aspects of this new space is the proximity of the three spaces, allowing for a synergy between the three services.

“One of the things that all the staff in the Student Health Center, Counseling Center, and Wellness Resource Center are most excited about is that all of these services are now co-located in the same building, allowing us to build better collaborative relationships and creating a smoother, more integrated experience for students.” said Heather Horton, Senior Director of Student Health & Wellbeing. “This co-location also helps us to emphasize the Stepped Care Model which we rolled out last year, which offers students multiple points of entry for mental health support across the entire continuum of wellbeing.”

In addition, the new space features a student lounge space in the upstairs lobby, which also offers opportunities for art displays and installations. Plans to work with the art department to have collaborations with art classes and student artists are currently underway.

“There is a lot to be excited for,” Horton said. “The brand-new spaces offer a number of things that our old locations did not.”

Apart from the improvements, the services of the spaces remain unchanged. Events at the arena will not affect the hours of operation for the Health Center and the Counseling Center. The Wellness Resource Center will offer the same services and more.

The original Boettcher Health Center building is currently being used for COVID testing. Considering the anticipated need for COVID testing, it is expected to continue this way for the foreseeable future.

The college has not yet made a public comment on what will be done with the building in the near future. 

However, the 2017 Campus Master Plan states that “Boettcher Center will be demolished and health services will be relocated. A new garden will be constructed in its place that serves as the visual terminus of the new academic walk.” 

With the current need for more housing, students have grown increasingly frustrated with the college’s use of space and funding. Suggestions for how to use the space vary from more housing to more space for the arts. Pressure on the college to make the right decision is high, given some of the negative student responses to the new arena.

“If there is this empty space on campus and they’re trying to figure out what to do with it, it should be reflective of students’ needs,” said Sierra Romero ’22. “And I don’t think a garden is the answer right now.”

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